Retailer Spotlight: Earthenworks

Retailer Spotlight: Earthenworks

Earthenworks Gallery - Cynthia and Donald Hoskins, La Conner, WA

The story of Earthenworks Gallery is a love story of sorts - starting with two Northwest-born teenagers who fell in love with art as they fell in love with each other. And like with most love stories, they began their journey with a rather humble beginning...

Describe your gallery.
We are a Contemporary American Crafts and Fine Art Gallery. Our vast array of merchandise is in every medium which include functional pieces as well as decorative and collector pieces.  Fashion jewelry to fine jewelry, blown glass, ceramics, fiber, leather, original paintings, bronze sculpture, woodworking, and outdoor sculpture
Year Founded:
Our first gallery opened in 1977. We now have two locations: La Conner, WA and Port Townsend, WA. We are celebrating our 40th year in business.
Square Feet of Retail Space:
Each store is 3,000 square feet. They are housed in historic buildings that we renovated and restored. One of which is a 1907 Hotel Building and yes we also run a twelve room boutique hotel. The other Building was built in 1885 and we rent three apartments that are on the second floor. These buildings are on the National Historic Register.
Why did you decide to open a gallery?
Donald was an accomplished potter and opening a gallery gave us the means to showcase his work outside of craft fairs. It also enabled us to feature the work of other local artisans.
How many artists do you represent?
We currently represent over 400 artists from the United States and Canada.
How do you promote your artists/gallery?
We promote our business using newspaper and social media. Every month we create a digital newsletter featuring an artist and/or gallery event that is emailed to our customer list. Two years ago we created an e commerce website. In addition, we donate merchandise to community fundraisers and participate in local Chamber of Commerce activities.
What percentage of merchandise is made in the U.S.? Canada? Imported?
We proudly only carry the work of American and Canadian Artists.
What trade shows do you attend?
We attend the American Craft shows in Baltimore and the Indie Me show in Philadelphia We also go to several large arts and craft shows in Washington and California.
What attracts you to new merchandise?

New merchandise that attracts us is unique, well made, price valued, and salable. It has to meet our discerning criteria that we have developed over the past 40 years.

Do you consign?
Yes, we have work on consignment. All of the paintings are consigned. Otherwise, some of the artists we buy from consign additional work to have a larger presence in the gallery.
Do you sell online?

We are very proud of our website:, and sell from it on a regular basis. We have been surprised that we have sold some very expensive items.

What is your shopping routine on IndieMe?

We utilize this website to look up specific artists, as well as to see new work by artists we already represent.

Who generates the biggest sales for you? Tourists? Locals? Repeat Customers? Collectors?
Our customers are both tourists and local residents. Repeat customers are a large part of our business and we do our best to personalize their customer experience.
There is no magical price point. We often sell high-end pieces, however, not as frequently as items in the under $100 range. We find it's best to have a broad price assortment in each medium, thereby making art affordable to everyone.
How is business? Any thoughts for the future of craft galleries?

Business is unpredictable but we are seeing a steady increase in sales since the infamous 2008 recession. The future of the industry lies not only in the gallery owners, but the emergence of new artists as well. This industry is about creativity and passion and we do our part to keep up the momentum of the culture.

 What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

For anyone who may be considering opening a gallery it is important to plan and become familiar with what is going on in your area. The location is very important in order to attract customers and artists to represent.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
This industry is in constant need of new and unique artisans. We recommend learning the business portion of selling so you can best collaborate with galleries that represent you. Being adaptable to change in the economy and fashion trends is also important. Ultimately, keep moving forward and perfecting your craft.

Showing 1 Comment

John & Robin Davis

Your advise is 100% right on. I talk to young artists who don't have a clue, they are more worried about how their business card looks than having a plan. I try to explain that a plan is a map for their future. An artist is one thing and a business person is usually another but some way you have to be both. Keep up the good work
John & Robin J Davis Studio

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